Right-wing activists across the nation are enraged by Sen. Lindsey Graham’s (R-SC) decision to work with Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) to craft comprehensive climate and clean energy legislation. In an op-ed published in Sunday’s New York Times, Graham and Kerry discussed their agreement on a framework for mandatory global warming pollution reductions linked to government support for the nuclear, coal, and natural gas industries. The Natural Resource Defense Council’s Dan Lashof embraced the announcement as a “game changer.” Bill Scher noted that Graham has “crossed the climate Rubicon,” abandoning denialist conservative activists by recognizing the threat of global warming and working with Democrats. Graham has even said “it doesn’t bother me one bit” if President Obama gets credit for a policy victory:
I think the planet is heating up. I think CO2 emissions are damaging the environment and this dependence on foreign oil is a natural disaster in the making. Let’s do something about it. I’d like to solve a problem, and if it’s on President Obama’s watch, it doesn’t bother me one bit if it makes the country better off.
Graham’s willingness to drop blind partisanship for the chance to shape corporate-friendly climate legislation is making him the latest target of the extremist right, who drove Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA) out of the Republican Party and demonized Rep. Mike Castle (R-DE). Yesterday, Graham held a town hall meeting in Greenville, South Carolina in which local Tea Party activists accused him of “going to bed with John Kerry” and making a “pact with the devil,” accusations which generated tremendous applause by the assembled crowd.
This unhinged response is reflected in the conservative blogosphere, where Graham has been called a “fake Republican,” “RINO” (Republican in name only), a “traitor,” “disgrace,” “asshat,” “democrat in drag,” and a “wussypants, girly-man, half-a-sissy”:
Liberty Journal: Vote out the traitors who seek control of you with the use of your money paid in the form of taxes.
Mike Proto: Quite honestly, it is growing tiresome having to report on another fake Republican who is selling us out. In this case, it is the RINO senior senator from South Carolina, Lindsey Graham. . . . Now, the faux Republican is teaming up with none other than John ‘F’n’ Kerry on C(r)ap & Trade.
Michelle Malkin: God save us from bipartisanship.
Gateway Pundit: Senator Graham is a disgrace.
Ross Kaminsky: Lindsey Graham is little more than Barack Obama’s useful idiot, a man who clearly has no interest in the scientific data and who is so desirous of “doing something” that he barely cares what it is he gets done.
Dan Riehl: Why does SC continue to re-elect this doofus with a bad haircut?
Bruce Tyson: The RINO traitor to all that is right, just, and good, South Carolina’s own Lindesey Graham [sic] has done it again: this time siding with John Kerry on climate change fraud.
Pamela Gellar: Any Republican who signs off on the bankrupting of America vis a vis junk science climate change legislation is a traitor. Lindsey Graham is an asshat.
Founding Bloggers: They are selling us out to cover up for the fact that depression era entitlement programs, combined with greed and corruption, are wiping us out.
Angry White Dude: Graham is, in a word, a douchebag being used for his vote. . . . Just like his daddy Supreme Rat McCain, Graham is a Democrat. South Carolinians, you’re better than that…those of you who aren’t liberals. Do something about it the next that wussypants, girly-man, half-a-sissy comes asking for your vote! He is no friend of America!
Mark Harvey: Just like McCain, Lindsey Graham is actually a DIG, a democrat in drag.
During the town hall, Graham justified his efforts by citing grossly inflated cost estimates for the Waxman-Markey bill:
What I’m trying to do is make sure that the uh Markey-Waxman bill from the House is dead, because it will have about an $800 individual cost per person, and when you apply that to small businesses, that’s a huge price. If the EPA regulates carbon, and there’s no tools for businesses, particularly manufacturers, to comply, that’s the worst outcome.